Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Getting there

At almost 33 weeks along, I'm getting to the point in my pregnancy where I want to schedule my doctors appointments for first thing in the morning, wear my lightest clothing, and make sure to shave my legs. All of this in preparation, of course, for stepping on that scary metal scale.  While the nurse keeps moving the balance further and further to the right, my eyes get bigger and bigger.

I've never considered myself an incredibly vain person, but the bi-weekly weigh-ins have made it fairly clear that I'm a little more prideful than I thought.  

I'll tell myself that it's just Maybe's gigantic head (thanks Blake...) but it's probably my diet of grapefruit, cheese, triscuts, and cookies. 


I'm also at the point in my pregnancy where I've apparently decided that it's a good idea to take on big home projects.  Right now there's a crew jack hammering the bejeebers out of our upstairs bathroom while I wear a surgical mask and earplugs and hide out in the family room.  Did you know that in 1951 bathroom tile is securely fastened in about three inches of pure concrete (both the walls, the shower and the floor)?  That's a whole lot of concrete...a whole lots of dust...and a whole lot of extra weight that our trusty floors won't have to hold up anymore.  

Blake and I have spent the past two weeks stewing over finishes and seeing the dollar signs fly as we've ordered all of the supplies.  The UPS guy and I have become quite close (he has generously carried things into the house for me since I can't lift them from the porch and Blake is still recovering from a back injury).  Our living room looks like a Home Depot exploded and there is a tub filling up the majority of our study.  Like Blake says, it's like we are camping in our own home.  It's awesome...and awesomely hilarious.

We have been dreaming of this bathroom renovation for years and finally felt like we should pull the trigger before Maybe gets here.  It's madness to be sure, but at least it's fun madness and it comes with an end date.  

I can't wait to post the before and after photos.  No more five by five bathroom!  No more knees touching the tub when you're on the toilet.  Such luxury! 

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Year of the Sheep(adoodle)

Oh, Mr. Bear.  How I love thee. Let me count the ways.

Oh, Baby Bear.  How I get frustrated with thee. Let me multiply the ways.

My goal for the past several months has been to keep Bear mat-free so that we can keep his fur long.  We prefer the sheepdog look to the poodle look, but his dense fur is pretty high maintenance, so it takes eom real doing. 

Blake built me a laundry/craft table in the unfinished portion of our basement and I've found that it works really well as a grooming table.  It's high enough that when I put Bear on it he doesn't try to jump off.  In fact, he just stands there in utter dejection while I brush him and tell him what a good dog he is.  It makes me feel bad that he's scared to be up so high, but it's the only way to brush him without him thinking it's a game. Everything is a game to this little guy.

I gave myself a big pat on the back when I picked Bear up at the groomer a week ago.  He came out looking great and had maintained most of his fluff.  This is a first.  Usually he has to get a short cut because his matting is out of control. But this time. This time was different.  This time he came out with a serious swagger to his fluffy walk.

Blake and I marked the occasion by pulling out the nice camera and getting some glamour shots of our main man.  I'm not ashamed to admit that I felt like squealing "it's so fluffy I'm going to die!" every few seconds.  Yes, he's a soft as he looks.

Lest you think he's all fluff and sweetness. Here are some other Bear anecdotes for your comedic enjoyment:

1.  A couple days before he was groomed, there was a day where I had to give Bear three baths. Twice because he had been playing in the snow and was covered in snowballs (dingleberries, we like to call them), and once because he had a stow-away cling-on.

I'm usually pretty good at spotting cling-ons.  In fact, I'm usually meticulous about keeping his "poop-shoot" shaved (oh the ways your dignity leaves you when you get a puppy).  But this one he got past me.  Well, he got it past me until he decided to jump up on the couch and drag his bum across my lap, leaving a very unpleasant-smelling skid mark in his wake.

Needless to say, bath number three included the use of surgical gloves and a plethora of gagging.

2.  I made the mistake of letting Bear run around on the neighborhood tennis court with his friends for over an hour.  The poor guy ran down his paw pads and got blisters.  I felt like the worst dog-owner in history as Bear spent the next day carefully licking his paws.  Uhg.  The poor guy didn't understand why he wasn't allowed to go on walks the next couple days.

When I finally took him out on a short walk, he made it three blocks before he sat down and refused to go any further.

Of course this was the one time I'd forgotten to bring my phone, so I couldn't call Blake to come pick us up.

Three blocks doesn't sound like much, but I'm 7 months pregnant, waddly in the extreme, and not supposed to pick up things over 25 pounds (Bear weighs in at a heafty 32 pounds).  But I couldn't let the poor guy suffer and didn't want to drag him home on his sore feet.

So I picked him up.  And he was in so much pain that he started head butting me and crying.  And I started the heavy, stuttery breathing that precedes crying.  I waddled three blocks home with a head-butting dog and a determination not to have a breakdown before entering my home.

I made it through the door, but just barely...I started crying so hard I almost fell over.  Blake, who was on a conference call on the couch, looked at me with panic in his eyes.  Hormones. I tell ya.  They make a girl do the strangest things.

Alls well that ends well, though.  Bear's paws are just fine.  And I used enough crying power to get me through the next year.  Go team.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Bag it all

In high school I worked as a grocery bagger at the neighborhood family-owned market.

I made $5.25 an hour (a 10 cent raise from minimum! go me!), wore the uniform of terrible men's polo shirts that were several sizes too large, "faced" the aisles, re-stocked the Shasta soda machine out front, went on cart-return missions no matter the weather, directed customers where to find the pre-made pizza dough, and made sure to put the bread and eggs in a separate bag from the heavy stuff.  To sum it up, I was the world's best and also the world's scrawniest bagger.

Ugly uniform aside, there were some great perks to the job.  My co-workers were great. They were mostly college kids and other high school kids working part time, and the management did a great job of hiring friendly, personable people.  Those of us in High School would work either a 3pm - 7 pm shift or the 7pm - 11 pm shift on weekdays and a 4 or 8 hour shift on Saturdays.

I dreaded the 7pm - 11 pm shifts because (and Blake will confirm this) I've always needed a full night's sleep. And by full night's sleep, I mean at least 9 hours.  I love sleep.

The only thing that I looked forward to on those late nights was when, twice a week, I was on bakery clean up duty.  Now, we weren't technically allowed to take home the day-old bakery goods, but it seemed such a waste to just throw them in the dumpster.  So, often, the other bagger and I would triple bag the doughnuts etc., take them out back, and place them next to the dumpster instead of in it.  That way, at the end of our shifts, we could sneak back around the building and take the bounteous and slightly stale freebies home.

Now that I think about it, maybe this is where my illustrious career in dumpster diving began?

I also prided myself in being an excellent bagger.  I kept the meats with the meats because meat juice in with the produce is disgusting.  I kept the frozen goods together to self-insulate.  I put the bread on top and the eggs in a separate bag.  Maybe it's because I was only 16 and trying to prove my worth, but I really took my job seriously.

This brings me to the important point of this jog down memory lane.

Bad baggers.  There's always that one bad bagger at the grocery store that you try to avoid.

There's one at our local Giant and I will reverse my cart mid-line just to get away.  He puts the bread on the bottom and slams the eggs around.  He lets the produce roll out of the produce bags and then practically throws it into whatever bag is nearest.  Yes, I know I'm picky, but I specifically choose non-bruised apples...

Last week I thought I was home free.  I had loaded all of my groceries onto the conveyor belt and had just answered the checker "doing well, how are you?" when my bagging nemesis showed up at the end of the counter and started pulling out my re-useable bags.

I looked at my groceries - breads, produce, meats, eggs- and back at him with an internal wince.

Each week when I grocery shop, I bring two large reusable bags.  They don't fit everything, but I like to get a few disposable plastic bags because I use them as kitchen garbage bags.

I asked Bad Bagger to not overload the re-usable bags and then to use plastic for whatever didn't fit.  Then I chatted with the checker while I saw the total rise and rise (I hate how expensive food is...).  The next time I looked over at Bad Bagger, he had tried to stuff everything into the two bags.  Cans, bread, eggs, produce. All squashed.  The bags entirely too heavy.  I asked him again if he could use plastic for whatever didn't easily fit into the two bags because I'm not allowed to lift anything super heavy right now.  He just stared at me and kept putting cans in the already overloaded bags.

I had to ask for/pay for several extra plastic bags and re-bag the groceries myself in the parking lot so that they were light enough for me to lift into the car.  By that time, my bread was flat, my apples bruised, my grapes squished, and, well, you get the picture.

Take some pride in your job, man. But until that time, I'll be requesting that I bag my own groceries. Because a good bagger, much like an elephant, never forgets.